Three conditions as France voices concern over Russia airstrikes in Syria
PARIS - France demanded Wednesday that Russia confirm the targets of its air strikes in Syria, amid concerns they may not have been aimed at the Islamic State (ISIS) group, before accepting the enlarged coalition Moscow wants.
"Of course, we must fight together as hard as we can against Daesh," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters in New York, using the group's Arabic acronym.
But he set three conditions for joining the Russian-proposed international coalition fighting the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
Fabius said any air strikes must target ISIS and other "terrorist groups, not civilians or the moderate opposition."
There are "signs that the Russian strikes did not target Daesh," he said, calling for the targets of the Russian raids to be verified.
Fabius also called for an end to "indiscriminate bombings" by Syrian forces, indicating he had demanded before the UN Security Council that barrel bombs and chlorine attacks be banned in Syria.
Finally, Fabius called for a transition of power under which President Bashar al-Assad would step down in order to "give hope to the Syrian people again."
"The fate of the Syrian people cannot be limited to a horror scenario where they must choose between a criminal regime or barbaric terrorism," he said.
Russia's air strikes were its first military engagement outside the former Soviet Union since the occupation of Afghanistan in 1979.
Moscow plans to present a UN draft resolution to the Security Council on countering terrorism to build up the fight against ISIS.